Lockdown Day 29 – Sprouting
Knowledge and Understanding of the World
One of the characteristics of the Montessori philosophy is to immerse children in reality and nature. This not only allows them to adapt to their time, place and culture but also introduces the children to what Montessori called their ‘cosmic task’. By giving the children the opportunity to understand nature, we open their eyes to their impact on the world and give them an appreciation of nature’s gifts to humans.
* GROWING SPROUTS *
Let’s get our fingers green(ish) today! Watching plants grow is always fascinating and provides children with a sense of awe and wonder. Today’s activity is a blend of a botany and a science lesson. Is it not amazing that the tiny seed has everything inside it to become a plant? All it needs is water!
It may be nice to take a A4 size paper and fold it in half and half again and again until there are 8 rectangles formed by the folds. A creative border can be drawn around each fold and inside the border the child can record the growth process each day by drawing the seed/bean.
YOU WILL NEED
- A handful of beans/seeds to sprout
- A glass jar, wax paper poked with holes or cling film poked with holes (use a toothpick) and an elastic band.
- A 2-litre plastic bottle poked with holes (use a knitting needle or skewer).
The following beans/seeds are easy to sprout and make for delicious salad ingredients: brown lentils, alfalfa, mung beans, mustard, and radish.
Whilst the sprouting process occurs just as well in both the jar and the plastic bottle, we like the use of the bottle. There is a sense of wonder in the slow ‘filling’ of the bottle as the beans/seeds sprout. It is also slightly less messy and there is then the added ‘challenge’ of figuring out how to get to the sprouts once the process is complete!
- Help the child to wash the beans/seeds. Place the washed beans/seeds into a bowl and cover them with warm water. Allow them to soak in the warm water overnight.
- In the morning, assist the child in draining the water.
- If you are using a jar, ask the child to spoon the beans/seeds into the jar.
- If you are using the plastic bottle, you may need to make a paper funnel to spoon the beans/seeds into to direct them through the narrow opening.
- Please note that the beans/seeds will triple or quadruple in size, so only fill the jar or plastic bottle about one quarter of the way full. A nice link to numeracy is to measure the jar or bottle with a ruler, figure out where half is, and then figure out where half is again, giving you the quarter mark.
- Cover the opening of the jar with the wax paper or cling film and secure with the elastic band.
- For the plastic bottle simply twist the cap back on.
- Turn the jar or bottle on its side. Shake it slightly from side to side to give the beans/seeds space to spread out over the surface of the jar or bottle and place it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. The beans/seeds do not need light to grow at this stage – remember that in nature the seeds would ordinarily be under the ground! This could lead you to an interesting discussion about the effects of the sun!
- If your child would like to keep a record of the sprouting process, ask the child to draw the bean/seed in the first block of the folded paper. Keeping records through observation is part of the scientific process. By nature, children are keen observers, so use this natural ability to enhance the learning experience.
- Over the next few days, first thing in the morning and before going to bed at night, remind the child to add water to the jar or plastic bottle, swirl it around and then drain it again. The holes in the bottle will allow the water to trickle out, whereas the jar will need to be drained as normal. This ‘cleans’ the beans/sprouts and gives them the moisture they need in order to grow.
- Remind the child to carefully observe the beans/seeds and record how they look in the next squares of the folded paper.
- In about three days, you should see the first radicles emerging!
There is an abundance of new vocabulary to introduce in a lesson like this:
- Radicle – the first shoot to appear that will become a root.
- Plumule – the first shoot to appear that will become a stem
Older children may be interested in the seed/bean casing. All of the plant examples above are dicotyledons. The bean/seed case has two parts that can be clearly seen once the radicle and plumule appear.
* Once the beans/seeds have sprouted, invite your child to make a salad and use the sprouts liberally as a key ingredient!
Happy sprouting! We hope that you will enjoy the ‘fruits’ of your labours!